Singapore has six MRT (metro) lines — seven if you count the one currently under construction — and three LRT (light rail lines). The Punggol Line is the most northeasterly of these, and here’s what you’ll see if you get off and explore each stop:
At the center of this LRT line sits Punggol, a massive interchange that includes an MRT stop, an LRT stop, and a bus exchange. It’s also home to Waterway Point, a popular mall that houses a cute model of the area — including the LRT.
From Punggol, the LRT branches out like an infinity sign, so you can ride in an oval in either direction. I’ll go through the southern oval first.
As with many of the stops on this LRT line, Damai first spits you out into a towering cluster of HDBs:
A short walk will take you to the Punggol Waterway, a 4.2 kilometer park that runs between Sungei Punggol and Sungei Serangoon.
This stop leads directly out into Oasis Terraces, an integrated community that houses a mall, HDBs, a community rooftop garden …
… and a stunning array of plants.
This is yet another stop that’s just a quick hop away from the Punggol Waterway.
A shaded ten-minute walk will take you from here to the Punggol Promenade Riverside Walk, which runs along Sungei Serangoon.
A bit more inland, the Riviera station may not look like it offers much at first glance.
But walk just a bit to the southeast, and you’ll find yourself at the Social Innovation Park, home to tiny fenced-in gardens like “Littlebotany” and “Skool of Cactus.”
Even more unexpected is Uncle Ringo Carnival, a setup that appears rather makeshift but apparently has been around since 1984.
This was my favorite part — dragons and a unicorn pegasus in Singapore!
This exotic-sounding stop puts you right back in the heart of HDB-land.
From the station, you can either head toward the Punggol Plaza mall or to the lovely area that surrounds the community-maintained Coral Garden.
It’s HDBs as far as the eye can see at Meridian — and these are even taller than usual.
There’s nothing remotely cove-like at Cove — it’s just chock-a-block full of HDBs, most of which are pretty bland. But I did like some of the detailing in the HDB void decks.
That said, Cove is worth a trip, if only for the Xi’an Impression stall at the the GM food centre. Here you can get all sorts of dishes with hand-cut noodles, including these fantastic “oil spill noodles”:
Now we’re up on the northerly oval of the Punggol LRT line (to get here, you have to pass through Punggol Station again). Again, the world here is mostly HDBs …
… punctuated by the occasional garden feature.
The HDBs here become more interesting (this is the Waterway Terraces complex) …
… and a short walk returns you once again to Punggol Waterway Park (here is the Jewel Bridge)…
… complete with wildlife features (I saw four monitor lizards dotting the water’s edge).
From Nibong, it is an easy stroll to the Punggol Park Connector and the HDBs that line the walk.
If you head north toward the next stop, there’s not much of anything — just an empty-looking park and a road that literally goes nowhere:
There’s very little to see at Samudera, though you can get a good look at the LRT cars trundling by overhead.
You can access the very end of the Punggol Waterway here, but the biggest attraction is probably the brand new Northshore Plaza mall.
The atmosphere here turns eerily desolate — there are no people, no activities, just cranes and migrant worker dormitories.
If you tromp through an empty field, you can get to a small area of landed houses — the first I’d seen all day.
Sam Kee is pretty much in the middle of a giant construction site — it’s mud and girders and loaders all round.
If you take yourself across a busy street, though, you can access the My Waterway@Punggol section of Punggol Waterway Park …
… complete with the inaptly named Adventure Bridge (I’ve been on it twice and have yet to find the adventure):
In summary, I would say that I liked the Punggol LRT, mostly because so much of it is water- and park-adjacent. Of course, I probably spent more time walking than I did riding, but following the LRT line gives you a really good taste of what Punggol is all about.